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Centre for Building Sustainable Value

Ivey alumni empower others to advance global sustainability efforts

  • Melanie Rodriguez
  • |
  • Dec 7, 2020
Ivey alumni empower others to advance global sustainability efforts

Melanie Rodriguez, HBA '14, is the Community and Network Engagement Manager at the Ontario Nonprofit Network and Founder of Capacity Creation. She showcases how Ivey alumni are accelerating sustainability in the face of a global pandemic. 

Climate change doesn’t stop during a pandemic, if anything, this pandemic may accelerate it as nations increase the exploitation of resources to support their struggling economies. Fortunately, entrepreneurs and innovators are using leadership and business skills learned at Ivey to help organizations and consumers tackle climate change together.

Ahsan Syed, HBA, BSc 2015, launched Trailhead Cleantech during the pandemic to help scale-up clean-tech start-ups, by helping them develop funding-ready pitch decks and financial models, and supporting with integral commercial and technical tasks. The new advisory and contracting business started when an Ivey alumnus introduced Ahsan to a startup that was looking for help with a government green funding grant submission. Fast forward a few months and Trailhead is quickly growing its clientele across the US, UK and Canada. In the midst of the pandemic, Ahsan is quickly establishing himself as a go-to cleantech expert, specializing in hydrogen and low-carbon energy solutions.

Brandon Vlar, HBA 2014 and Co-founder of Lending Loop, took a different approach by helping organizations across all sectors minimize their carbon footprints and advance global sustainability efforts. Also launched during the pandemic, Brandon’s service, Carbon Interface, measures carbon emissions with an Application Programming Interface; allowing organizations big and small to easily estimate the impact of and offsets needed from carbon-emitting activities.

But it’s not just entrepreneurs who are innovating and collaborating to make a difference. Alumni working in a variety of roles in organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies to boutique start-ups are using their business and leadership skills to disrupt the status quo and advance sustainability efforts. 

Tyler Rochwerg, HBA 2014 and Digital Marketing Lead for Neutrogena used his time during the pandemic to help one of the world’s leading beauty brands launch a new commitment to sustainability. The internal partnership between Digital and Global Franchise teams resulted in the integration of sustainable ingredients, a commitment to 100% recyclable packaging by 2025, and raising the bar for sustainable beauty standards around the globe. 

From collaborating with alumni to developing reusable dog food to managing sustainability initiatives within corporations, Ivey alumni around the globe are collaborating, innovating, and disrupting the status quo in order to advance sustainability efforts. This pandemic will be remembered as one of the most challenging times in history but thanks to innovative and collaborative leaders, it may also be remembered as one of the greatest opportunities for improvement and transformation too.